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Chennai Express Review

Chennai Express
Neha Mathur /
Can watch again
Good for kids
Good for dates
Wait for OTT
There was, once, a Bollywood that courted its audiences with the suggestive melody of "Gaadi Bula Rahi Hai". Now, moviegoers are pursued with an unrelenting, in-your-face, "Get On The Train, Baby".

"Ticket khareed ke baith ja seat pe, nikal na jaaye Chennai Express," we are summoned. Unabashed, you say. Such is the tone, such are the times. The film is a blatant pursuit of mad fun, the kind that promises to entertain you without plot or prudence. Fortunately, it does entertain - well, mostly.

Rahul (Shahrukh Khan), a mischevious 40-year-old (no smirking, please) itching to holiday and live it up with his friends, decides to carry his grandfather's ashes to Goa rather than Rameshwaram, which is where the old man wanted to be put to rest.

But the director has other plans, and a clueless Rahul lends a helping hand (literally) to the runaway Meenamaa Lochni (Dipika Padukone) who, predictably, is running away from the horror of arranged (ahem, forced) marriage.

The Chennai Express is made to work as a motif that connects Rahul-North to Meena-South. Wanakkum, my filmi fellow citizens, to Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge revisited in South India. There are no "aiyyos" and no sambar-dripping conversations - the usual stereotypes are kept at bay. But that does not mean that new ones are not created.

Pursued by the heroine's burly, sickle-wielding cousins, the duo take off on a cat-and-mouse chase. They are brought back to the village where Meena's father Durgeshwara (Sathyaraj), a stern-faced don; her Herculean suitor Tangaballi (Nikitin Dheer); and a hundred dhoti-clad men wait for them.

The rest is a disorderly journey of running away from and running to. Cinematographer Dudley's lens captures this passage with competence as it presents vivid frames capturing the verdure of the South. An aerial view of the serpentine train making its way through exquisite greenery is one such shot.

The 21st century potboiler, specifically of the Rohit Shetty variety, is by self-admission an exercise in frivolity, and on that front, the film delivers, in most parts. The humour stems from the usual - a clowning SRK, lost-in-translation comicality, a comedy of errors, and the heavy meta-references to recent Hindi cinema (everything from "All Is Well" to Life Of Pi is covered).

Shahrukh Khan, at his cheeky best, pays homage to his statutory filmi poses, all the while laughing at himself. There are instances where this self-referencing becomes a tired attempt at buffoonery, but our man carries it the best he can.

Deepika Padukone, though straight as a ramrod in a kanjeevaram, plays the self-assured heroine with adequate finesse. Her Tamil accent is part-funny, part-irksome. There are a few key scenes where she steals the limelight from the King Khan himself.

Even though this is a Rohit Singham Shetty flick, the hero does not indulge in manliness-for-the sake-of-machismo, nor does he glorify violence. A comic contrast is created between the small, hiding-behind-Meenamaa; Rahul; and the beefy, bullheaded Tangaballi. Shetty's Rahul is a "common man" even though he keeps reminding us, without fail, of the legacy of Shahrukh Khan.

Surprisingly, significant portions of Chennai Express are voiced in Tamil without any subtitles, but it is mostly successful in pulling off the gap that it creates between itself and its North-Indian audiences. Even the cast is largely made up of actors from the South-Indian film industry.

Chennai Express acts as a commentary on the miscommunication between individuals / communities or the complete lack of it, and yet there are bits where it leaves the viewer bewildered. We mean, why, really why, the burst of social consciousness and the rather abrupt soapboxing on the "girl child"? Why the underlying moral that the North and the South are the same beneath it all? Why, why? The film risks derailment every time it attempts to move away from its smart-alecky self.

The music by Vishal-Shekhar keeps in tune with this smart-alecky tone of the film. "Kashmir Main, Tu Kanyakumari" and 'Get On The Train, Baby" are boisterous, and the lyrics are somewhat juvenile. The song "Titli", on the other hand, is soft and melodious.

Rohit Shetty holds back on the jowl-busting sequences (though there is a metal-crunching car chase) except when the hero needs to prove his love, which turns out to be a long bash-up.

You may diss or hail Chennai Express, but know this that in our country nothing is as powerful as the Bollywood star-system. If you are a "Jab Tak Hai Jaan, I'm a Shahrukh fan" person, then this is your film.

Shetty makes imbecile humour fashionable. Will he make it, yet again, to the 100-Crore Film Club, we do not know, and we do not care.
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Chennai Express (hindi) reviews
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  • Cast
    Shahrukh Khan, Deepika Padukone, Sathyaraj, Nikitin Dheer, Manorama, Priyamani (item Number), Kamini Kaushal, Lekh Tandon
    1 user says this is wrong.
  • Music
    Shekhar Ravjiani, Vishal Dadlani
  • Director
    Rohit Shetty
  • Theatres
    Not screening currently in any theatres in Hyderabad.
    2 users say this is wrong.
Lakshmi Bandi on 15th Aug 2013, 10:22am | Permalink
Chennai Express....we can say this film as one of the awesome movies of Shahrukh like Kuch Kuch Hota Hai, Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gham, Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge, etc..Even though it seems like a simple movie, the specialty of this film is Deepika's role and her extraordinary performance and I think, I need not to say about Shahrukh separately...
Simply saying, it is a movie with a lot of comedy, action etc..Guys, now it's your turn..go & enjoy the movie..
1 - 14 OF 14 COMMENTS
Can watch again - NA
Good for kids - NA
Good for dates - NA
Wait for OTT - NA
Portuguese Man-of-War on 15th Aug 2013, 12:16pm | Permalink
Bad movie:

1. Poor comedy that looks like it's intended for kids (especially for people in AP used now to the - in general - much more creative Telugu film comedy and dialogues)

2. A poor plot - one of the worst in SRK's career

3. A cowardly hero (we do not go to the movies for that, especially superstar movies)

4. Insipid romance (for a movie supposed to be a romance, the actual romance kicks in only in the last 30 minutes or so)

5. Poor chemistry between the lead actors (Deepika is 27 and SRK looks 45)

This is a classic example of a movie that will cross 200 crores due to a superstar starring in it, extremely aggressive promotion, and poor competition. It is a sign of today's Bollywood - Rohit Shetty's movies become blockbusters due to the competition being even worse.
Santosh Kumar on 15th Aug 2013, 11:25am | Permalink
Watched SRK movie after 10 years, SRK was looking tired, deepika was gud, credit goes to Rohit Shetty for this masala entertainer
madhu on 15th Aug 2013, 10:24am | Permalink
its is decent movie, i like the movie and I enjoyed alot, (Shahrukh Comedy Super), my all friends full enjoyed Chennai Express movie, i see firsttime shahrukhan movie full enjoyed, anyway movie is super!
navaneetha on 15th Aug 2013, 10:24am | Permalink
Full-on Entertainment from beginning to the end.. Deepika's acting is awesome.. Love to watch it again.
Urmila Yadav on 15th Aug 2013, 10:22am | Permalink
I liked this movie, lovely entertainment movie, good acting by Deepika and sharukh khan, great comedy, deepika performed superb, good location, really i enjoyed the entire movie..
Lakshmi Bandi on 15th Aug 2013, 10:22am | Permalink
Chennai Express....we can say this film as one of the awesome movies of Shahrukh like Kuch Kuch Hota Hai, Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gham, Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge, etc..Even though it seems like a simple movie, the specialty of this film is Deepika's role and her extraordinary performance and I think, I need not to say about Shahrukh separately...
Simply saying, it is a movie with a lot of comedy, action etc..Guys, now it's your turn..go & enjoy the movie..
Deepa Garimella on 15th Aug 2013, 10:09am | Permalink
One of the best, most fun Hindi movies I've watched in a really long time. Reminded me a lot about Om Shanti Om.

I read someone remark on Twitter, referring to Chennai Express, that it takes a lot for a star to let the lady in the film have more prominence than him. I was surprised to see Deepika Padukone be given so much to do, and even more surprised she was good!

What is ingenious is that they made a Hindi film dominated by Tamil, and yet managed to come up with a pan-Indian entertainer. A fitting tribute to south Indian film culture.

Plus of course, there is the SRK self-mocking humour and the inside jokes.

All in all, Rohit Shetty, please take a bow. And Shah Rukh Khan, well, we're glad you're back in form.
Jyothi Rathod on 14th Aug 2013, 3:20pm | Permalink
Deepika's action is awesome, full of comedy.... simply superb.. i njoyed alot...
My name is Sane 1 on 12th Aug 2013, 4:24pm | Permalink
To hail Chennai Express as a movie would be an egregious insult to the entertainment form that daily gives joy to millions around the world.Folks, Chennai Express is a tawdry spectacle that only a crass Indian filmmaker would put out, and only a classless Indian audience with an abundant appetite for trash would delight in. It
2power10 on 15th Aug 2013, 10:10am | Permalink
Thank you for calling me "classless Indian audience with an abundant appetite for trash"

Yours sincerely,

Someone who liked the movie and isn't insane
Blade on 15th Aug 2013, 10:06am | Permalink
Take it easy dude. Of all the time spent on writing this review you could have watched 'The Conjuring' in one sitting:) SRK tried his bit... junta are not fools... and it's already crossed 100+ crore club long back. it's a 2.30 + hours laughing riot... full-to-paisa-vasool... your's sincerely.
Adya on 12th Aug 2013, 10:03am | Permalink
It's a proper South Indian movie with full of comedy. Deepika's action, Sharukhan's comedy is superb.....I would love to watch it again
sumanth232 on 10th Aug 2013, 8:24pm | Permalink
Its a decent movie.. had fun throughout those 2 and half hours...
mahi on 10th Aug 2013, 2:51pm | Permalink
What happens,when the cult classic DDLJ is resaid with a southern flavour?-it becomes ''chennai express''!!!.....chennai express is a road movie with lots of fun, song n dance....narrated in a typical telugu/tamil movie style,it has got all the ingredients for another money spinning commercial potboiler....rohit shetty's trademark comedy n fights with flying cars, jeeps n ofcourse goons; deepika's exemplary performance as a native tamil girl 'meenamma' with funny tamil-hindi accent; eye catching cinematography with vivid picturisation of southern terrain; item song of priyamani, and a special song dedicated to rajinikath in end credits-- all worked out for this movie....but the cynosure of all eyes is shahrukh khan, he is into every frame brimming with oodles of energy inspite of an age withered face ...when he makes u laugh,he is the same raj malhotra of DDLJ n rahul of KKHH...when he makes mockery of himself,he is the same ram of Main Hoon Na... when he waters ur eyes, he is the same rahul of KKKG....its all shahrukh's stellar one man show....a perfect eid entertainer...paisavasool???....
Kris on 10th Aug 2013, 11:00am | Permalink
Well... that's the most vague and ambiguous review I've read in recent times... It may compete for all-time hall of fame though...

So, what's your point Ms. Neha... Should I see, should I not... If yes, why so vague review with no apparent positives... If no, why such a high rating???
Are you aware that a 7 and above rating on fullhyd makes a film must watch (At least it has been like that for me for the last few years)
You new lot are sure losing it...
Saradhi on 9th Aug 2013, 7:36am | Permalink
Watch the movie only for Deepika. Superb movie and she carried the movie on her shoulders, I can say. Anyway, it is a cakewalk for Shahrukh. But Deepika's role was a turnaround and performed superbly in all scenes. Movie is very good to watch and I bet you won't get headache in the entire movie.
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